Dr. JoGayle Howard, well-known for her ability to help even the most not-in-the-mood endangered species breed in captivity, passed away Saturday at the age of 59. She is perhaps best known for her role in the birth of giant panda cub Tai Shan at the National Zoo in 2005. She also played a critical role in captive breeding of the highly endangered clouded leopard and black-footed ferret.
As a theriogenologist (drop that one in conversation to impress your friends), Dr. Howard pioneered techniques in sperm cryopreservation, sperm processing and laparoscopic artificial insemination.
"Howard, the subject of the upcoming Smithsonian Channel program Nature’s Matchmaker, pioneered new techniques in animal reproduction. She achieved “countless breakthroughs, trained hundreds of students and foreign colleagues and played an instrumental role in saving species,” reports the National Zoo, where Howard worked for three decades. Howard’s reputation as an animal matchmaker and reproductive sleuth, solving the difficult issues of breeding endangered species, garnered her the sobriquet, “Sperm Queen,” a nickname she relished."
Sperm Queen? Perhaps she will become the patron saint of The Birds and the Bees.
I can think of nobody more fitting.